Stags' winless streak continues and they lose ground in Group F after losing 1-0 to Terengganu in the AFC CupIn an AFC Group F encounter, between the two Eastern giants from Singapore and Malaysia, Tampines Rovers’ winless streak continued as they lost 1-0 to defending Malaysia FA Cup champions Terengganu in front of 801 fans at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
Terengganu settled quickly in the game and was rewarded after four minutes as Joseph Kalang Tie scored what proved to be the winning goal, after a misunderstanding in the Tampines defence. Tampines keeper Sasa Dreven was left bemused and stranded by as Joseph coolly slotted home to give the Turtles the lead.
From then on, it was all Tampines, as the Stags had several opportunities to peg back, only to be denied by some good saves from Terengganu keeper Sharbinee Allawee Ramli.
Sharbinee made an excellent double save ten minutes into the game from Tampines attacker Ahmad Latiff - first a header after a beautifully flighted ball in from Ismadi from the left flank, and second – from Latiff again, who pounced on his own rebound shot but he failed to make the best of it as he shot directly at the keeper.
The Turtles custodian was called into action again on 16 minutes as he made a fingertip save from Imran Sahib’s shot. The resulting corner saw yet another wasted opportunity for the Stags, as defender Jufri Taha’s header went wide off the mark.
Tampines captain Duric then went close with several good opportunities as he tried to drag his team back into the game. The striker’s header went wide on the half hour mark, and another scuffed shot by him was skied a few minutes later, after he broke free from the Terengganu defence.
As the teams regrouped for the second half, Tampines tried to change things up by introducing Ahmed Fahmie for Davor Piskor to bring fresh ideas upfront.
This move nearly paid off on 52 minutes when Fahmie capitalized on a missed scissors kick by Latiff that bounced his way, only for his pinpoint header to be tipped over the bar by the Terengganu keeper.
The Turtles’ forward Ashari Samsudin very nearly doubled his team’s lead on 55 minutes after he cut through the Tampines defence and found space for a shot, only to be prevented by Sasa Dreven’s heroics.
Terengganu then threatened again five minutes later through Ashari, but he failed to capitalize after a schoolboy error by the Stags defence following a poor backpass to Sasa.
In their last effort to take something away from the match, Tampines midfielder Sazali Salleh was taken off, for forward Fazil Zailani with ten minutes to go but to no avail.
The match ended on a drab note as the Terengganu players resorted to time-wasting and play-acting antics to wind down the clock and secure three points to remain second in Group F behind Hong Kong’s Kitchee SC.